Egret Takeoff

The snowy egret stood there, silently, watching the ground for what seemed like hours on end. Barely twitching, its feathers flowing in the gentle breeze, it was motionless, its eyes never leaving the ground in front of it. For this snowy egret was hunting for dinner in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, and snowy egrets are very good hunters.

On land, they are looking for small mammals or reptiles, or whatever happens by. With a lightning quick strike, they will spear their prey without warning. In water, they become fishermen, and they are equally good at that.

In any event, this egret had decided that the hunt would not pay off. With what looked like a shrug, yet surely wasn’t–was it?–it spread its wings wide and fell forward into the breeze. With two quick beats of the wings it was airborne and level, flying low over the field, perhaps looking for more suitable dinner location.

After a short flight, it landed again and before you could draw another breath, once again turned into stone. The hunt was afoot again.

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